Collecting enough cash for 20%, or even 5%, of your new home’s purchase price can seem daunting.

Yet the fact remains that the more money you pay upfront, the easier it will be to qualify for a loan. It may be difficult to imagine coming up with enough money, but following these tips will help increase your down payment when the time comes:

1. Decide how much house you can afford.

First things first, you need to set your savings goal. If you’re not sure how much you can afford, try using our financial calculators or schedule a meeting with a Starion mortgage banker.

2. Set a goal for your down payment.

The larger the down payment you’re able to make, the lower monthly payment you’ll have. You may even be able to have a shorter term.

3. Create a savings plan and set a deadline for reaching your goal.

Find the difference between your current housing costs and your projected monthly mortgage payment, and put that much away each month. This will help you decide if you really earn enough to afford the home you want.

Starion personal banker can help you open a separate savings account for your down payment. This will help minimize the temptation to tap the money for other needs. Also, setting up automatic transfers will ensure you’re growing that account.

4. Review spending habits.

Cut back on expenses and determine where you can find extra cash. Start by putting away the credit cards and examine other aspects of your spending until you’ve pared back to just the necessities.

5. Find out if you qualify for assistance.

You may be able to find financial help through various government programs. There are FHA-backed programs in every state, and most are aimed at low- and moderate-income, first time homebuyers. Also the Veterans Administration and the Agriculture Department are government programs that may offer down payment assistance.

When it comes to saving for a home, diligence is key. Even if you don’t plan on buying a house in the near future, it’s never too early to start saving. Begin by setting aside a little each month, and you’ll be amazed at how fast the funds grow.